The evening was charged with an omnipresent sense of magic, and as cardie -wearing, rosy cheeked Melbourne lads, The Ocean Party played smashing jangly pop tunes, the night that unfolded was one of wonder; showcasing three damn fine Aussie acts.
Courtney Barnett writes from the heart, and genitals apparently as you shall see. She stares you right in the eye as she sings which is a pleasant change from singers who sing with their eyes closed, but can be a little disconcerting for those punters not used to such an intense gaze from a performer. Courtney Barnett focuses on songs from her EP I’ve Got a Friend Called Emily Harris.
The band is really working their lo-fi garage sound. Barnett’s painstakingly honest and funny lyrics resonate with the crowd. “Are You Looking After Yourself?” features Barnett’s lackadaisical singing style, whilst “Scotty Says” is a more upbeat ditty about a break up. Barnett tells us their drummer Dave has pictures for each song. “The Funeral Sucks” has a picture of a tombstone next to it. Actually there are 3 ½ pictures.
Guitarist Alex Hamilton cheekily asks, “Is it called the Worker’s Club, coz they’re still working on it?” It leaves the throng pondering the exposed cork board and unfinished look about the place. “Lance Jnr” is a highlight. It’s catchy, lo-fi and sassy and anyone that has the guts to pen the lyric, “I masturbated to the songs you wrote” is worthy of accolades. “Canned Tomatoes” follows with some sexy slide guitar and breathy vocals turns the pace up a notch. The slight imperfections in delivery add to the charm and appeal of the show. Courtney Barnett is an act not to be missed.
Brisbane four piece Little Scout are here to promote their new single “Go Quietly” off their latest album Take Your Light around the East Coast of Oz, ending their tour in Melbourne. By the time they appear on stage, the size of the crowd has grown considerably, but there is still a slight gap in front of the stage, with punters preferring to hide in the shadows. The Worker’s Club surrounds consist of subtle lighting and wood, which makes for a comforting, unobtrusive vibe. It is the perfect ambience to watch and listen to Little Scout.
Vocalist Melissa Tickle , sis, backing vocalist and synth player Kirsty Tickle , guitarist Patrick Elliot and drummer Miro Mackie open their set with oldie “Dead Loss”.
Melissa Tickle may be petite in stature but her voice is majestic. She hits the high notes effortlessly and commands attention. “Right Now We Are Here” offers pop respite, and Tickle invites the crowd to fill the gap between the stage. “Come fill the gap to see his (Patrick’s) red pants.” Patrick sets her straight; “They’re actually burgundy”. “10 Taxis” is about Fortitude Valley; a happy song about the shit times in Tickle’s words.
Little Scout’s sound is reminiscent of Bat For Lashes ; ambient pop songs tinged with melancholy and female vocal harmonies. Frenetic drumming tempers “We are Walking Out” but it is “Go Quietly” that draws the greatest response from the audience. It starts with Tingle’s breathy vocals over syncopated drums and ominous bass, some glorious uplifting harmonies care of the sisters, then the music lifts to a crescendo of drums and the chorus kicks in. It is a melancholy masterpiece replete with enough minor chords to give one goose bumps. The live version gives a whole new level of intensity. It is brilliant. Little Scout are exquisite.
From the outset the evening was imbued with something other worldly. Partly due to the ambience of exposed wood lit up sparsely, three impeccable Aussie acts, and a closing song is moving that it defies description. Little Scout are set for stardom.
First published in the Au Review on September 13th 2012.
Photo by Mary Boukouvalas